The good news: being pro-life is no longer the number-one reason Christians are disliked. The bad news: that ranking has been replaced by another of our dearly held beliefs -- the sanctity of marriage. Throw in our "anti-science" viewpoints -- doubt over evolution and man-made climate change -- and it certainly looks as though we're going to continue to be "on the wrong side of history" (according to opinion shapers) and unlikely to win future popularity contests.

That isn't such a bad thing.

Consider how the ancient Egyptians felt about God's chosen people. Twice in Genesis (a major source for our troublesome worldview) Hebrews were said to be "loathsome" to the dominant culture (NASV). Even though they were linked by blood to a national hero, Gen. 43:32 basically says Egyptians detested the thought of eating with Hebrews. 

Their occupation was another strike against them. Gen. 46:34 says, "every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians" (NKJV). Note that every shepherd was repulsive, no matter the nationality and no matter how agreeable or well-connected the individual might be. Too bad shepherding happened to be the Hebrews' main livelihood.

The third strike against the Hebrews is found in Exodus 8:26, where Moses acknowledged to Pharaoh that their worship practices would also be abhorrent to Egyptians.

How did it feel knowing your very existence was an offense to polite society? That you were considered lowest of the low, disgusting, and even revolting? We may be about to find out.

That could be a good thing. In the case of Israel, prejudice kept them separate and distinct from the surrounding culture. Jacob's family was already predisposed against intermarriage, but even if they'd chosen to assimilate, the Egyptians' disdain would have kept it from happening. 

The result? Somehow, the Hebrews found a way to thrive amid the contempt. Allowed to live apart in their own little corner of the country, they were able to increase in number and grow strong -- so much so that an eventual ruler would become severely alarmed. 

Success brought its own persecution. Oh that this would be the reason American Christians are ill-treated. 

May what was said of them be true of us: "The more [the Egyptians] afflicted them, the more [the people of God] multiplied and spread out." (Exodus 1:12)

Maybe you heard that Google is attacking the free speech of pregnancy care centers by dropping their ads. This may be a case of more smoke than fire, since we are aware of no centers who’ve suffered this loss. But it is one more attempt by NARAL Pro-Choice America to do what they love to do -- portray all PCCs as “deceptive.”

Here's how the story played out --


Another way to look at this challenge is to see it as proof PCCs are succeeding. Their effectiveness and very existence cause trouble for abortion clinics, whose numbers are steadily decreasing in the face of pro-life laws and their own shoddy practices. Let’s not forget who the real deceivers are! (Read this article for examples of what abortion providers are really like and how major media cover up for them.)  

And let’s not forget that PCCs are non-profits that do their work with limited resources and (for the most part) volunteer labor. Centers do face the perennial challenges of securing funds and recruiting volunteers. These tasks become more difficult during the summer vacation months. 

This month we host our annual Summit to strengthen and encourage them. For two days (the 15th and 16th) we bring together directors, staff, volunteers, and board members for workshops, plenary sessions, and discussion groups. They enjoy fellowship, networking, and consultation with experts in the field. 

Please pray with us for this event, and for our faithful partner centers. They need to be both "wise as serpents and harmless as doves." Wise in their use of advertising and wary about the tactics of our opponents. PCCs are, by nature, harmless but perhaps they need to be more assertive about defending the integrity they do maintain. 

POSTSCRIPT 5/13/14 - Turns out centers are reporting their ads being "limited" or dropped by Google and Yahoo. Some have also been "warned" by Bing. Jim Sprague, executive director of the Pregnancy Resource Center in Grand Rapids, comments:

In practical terms, this determination from Google means if someone is considering an abortion they will have much more difficulty finding a place online that truly empowers a woman to make an informed decision and (most importantly) has no financial stake in her decision. 

The decision means now only the groups profiting from the procedure are allowed to purchase the ad word “abortion.” This clearly favors abortion providers and at the same time seriously restricts groups like PRC who offer life-giving alternatives to abortion.

Darren Arnofsky’s film Noah is turning out to be one of those cultural touchstones that divide viewers according to worldview. It not only calls the authority of Scripture into question, but also explains other crucial themes -- the sanctity of human life, man’s relation to the environment, the nature of sin and salvation, God’s purpose in creation, and God Himself -- in a way quite different from how they are rendered in Genesis and the rest of God's word. 

Here are a few insightful critiques from those who've seen the movie:

  • In Sympathy for the Devil, Dr. Brian Mattson points out its disturbing Gnostic/Kabbalistic/mystic underpinnings.


Apparently, the movie even gets the meaning of the rainbow wrong.

We "happened" to write about Noah in our latest Life Matters copy-ready bulletin insert -- Noah: Violent or Righteous? The Bible teaches that Noah stood out as someone who was "other than" the status quo, while the movie depicts him as a killer. Movie Noah believed his mission was to destroy all the people on the ark after they had saved the animals!

Another resource that you can use in your church, Sunday school, youth group, etc., to teach biblical truths is Noah and the Last Days, from the makers of 180 and Evolution vs. God. View it online and download a free ebook.

A year ago, a team from Life Matters Worldwide ventured to the Philippines to conduct trainings for LIFT ministry. One of the participants was Lalaine Mirasol, a widowed mother with two sons. 

From that training, God lit a fire in her -- or as she would say -- LIFT became part of her DNA.

Working with Dr. Mae Corvera (in light blue), Lalaine (far left) helped start the Ruth Foundation for Palliative and Hospice Care in Manila. She serves as its Community Relations Officer. Now based in Baguio City, similar work is underway. 

She tells the story of helping an elderly cancer patient. "A month ago, I regularly visited her to share the Gospel, and she received Jesus as her Lord and Savior. During her last breath, I asked her, is there anything you want, or that you want to see? She smiled and said, 'I'm happy now. Thank you so much, Lalaine!'"

Even though she's not a singer, Lalaine sang for her:

"Because He lives, I can face tomorrow." Then, with a smile on her face and holding Lalaine's hand, the woman took her final breath. Tears of joy filled Lalaine's heart.

Is it any wonder that, with experiences like this, LIFT would become such a passion in her life? 

You can help Lalaine by praying for her. In addition to caring for her own mother (pictured with Lalaine at right), she has many hopes and dreams for LIFT to flourish in Baguio. As she waits for God to guide and provide, she prays He will lead her to "the right local church and people who are interested and have willing hearts to obey the Great Commission through LIFT training."

In life, there are really only two things to do: Pray or praise. When you think about it, almost everything fits on one of two lists: prayer requests or answers to prayer. 

If something induces fear, doubt, anger, stress, worry, pain, or sorrow -- it's cause for prayer. If it provokes feelings of joy, peace, gratitude, or hope -- take it to the Lord in praise!

People who follow Life Matters Worldwide on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn will notice that our messages often fall along these lines. As we relate prayer requests and answers to prayer from partners around the world, we're growing in our own habit of communicating with God and also encouraging you in that practice.

Over 1200 people have signed up to receive our monthly prayer calendars. Build your communion with God by joining them!

You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many. --2 Cor. 1:11 ESV

On social media over the past two weeks, we requested prayer for events taking place in two parts of the world: a pro-life conference in Peru, and a volunteer training seminar in Ukraine

During the conference February 6-8, a significant milestone was celebrated. The biblical pro-life movement in Peru -- and in most of Latin America -- began 15 years ago when the first evangelistic pregnancy care center was established in Lima. Feliz quinceañera! to everyone at Centro Prenatal Vida Nueva.

Volunteer training is a significant stepping-stone in the process of opening a PCC. Choose Life! Odessa in Ukraine took that exciting step February 13-18 when it hosted its first training seminar for over 50 volunteers.

Intertwining paths Reflecting on the concurrence of these two events can lead one to marvel at the hand of God. You see, years ago Holly Friesen, a missionary nurse, was working with Evelyn Stone in Lima, Peru, at the start of Centro Prenatal Vida Nueva. She saw how effective PCCs can be in reaching women. 

Flash forward a few years After the center in Lima was established, Evelyn Stone visited the states and led a workshop for missionaries about using PCC ministry on the mission field. That workshop was attended by Dr. Miriam Wheeler -- a missionary to Odessa, Ukraine. She recognized the potential for PCC ministry in a country where abortion is rampant. 

A few more steps When Holly arrived to work in medical missions in Odessa with Dr. Wheeler, the two put their heads together and began plotting the course of steps that, one day, will lead to another milestone. 

Click to read more.In "Respecting the Moral Agency of Women, Virginia Ramey Mollenkott says she can find no scripture to settle the question of "competing rights between mother and fetus," and thus settle the abortion issue. 

This mindset reveals itself in statements by "pro-choice" advocates such as:

"An abortion when needed is a blessing. It is a gift, a grace, a mercy, a cause for gratitude, a new lease on life." --Valerie Tarico, Planned Parenthood Board of Advocates

“I feel like God wants me to do this job” --Diane Derzis, owner of the last abortion facility in Mississippi

Choosing abortion is "what religious liberty is about." --Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America

[Added May 30, 2014 --

Why I perform abortions: A Christian obstetrician explains his choice
The Abortion Ministry of Dr. Willie Parker]

Aside from multiple references to the existence and personal characteristics of babies still in the womb (among them Genesis 16:11-12, 25:23; Luke 1:15,44), there is ample scriptural help for when we have to for decide between the competing rights of individuals. Look at what God says to slaves and masters, husbands and wives, Israelis and foreigners, rich and poor, etc. In short, the Bible is full of instructions concerning civil disputes in which one rival party is the "person" and the other generally considered "non-person."

God's word makes a strong case against treating anyone as a "non-person human being." Slaves are persons. Women are persons. Gentiles are persons. Poor people are persons. Scripture demands we treat all impartially, as persons made in God's image. 

There are plenty of candidates for what is being called "non-person status" recorded in Scripture, but no allowance is granted for their mistreatment. The unborn child is, therefore, a worthy candidate for protection.

Related reading: In addition to scripture, I have found the article "Medical Ethics and What it Means to Be Human" by Donel O'Mathuna very helpful.

See also Scott Klusendorf's "Dead Silence: Must the Bible Say Abortion is Wrong Before We Can Know It's Wrong?"

Tributes for Nelson Mandela, who died yesterday, use words like "humility," "grace," and "forgiveness." One accolade -- that he treated people as he would want to be treated -- made me think of the sermon by Pastor John Hayden that we are using as our Pastor's Handbook update this year.

As Pastor Hayden points out, the "Golden Rule" is a uniquely Christian idea. Many ancient cultures recognized that the evil a person does often comes back to plague him or her. Instead of promoting kindness, however, the effect of this thinking is to grant permission for "doing unto others what they have done to you."

This is how many thought Mandela would behave upon his release from prison and ascension to the presidency, but he resisted that impulse and called for reconciliation and forgiveness. It is told that he invited his former jailers to sit in the front row at his inauguration as a sign of peace-making.

I cannot say whether he was a Christian, but this "fruit" is telling. A few articles I read this morning, however, raise doubt:

South African bishops wrong to laud Mandela
South African missionary cautions against new film praising life of Nelson Mandela

Sadly, this almost universally heralded leader supported abortion on demand and other sinful practices. Did he do to the unborn what he wished done to him? As much good as he may have accomplished, his was not a completely golden life.

Read The Golden Life by downloading it through our online store. Access is free of charge.

Are you familiar with Abby Johnson? 

Abby ran a Planned Parenthood Center in Texas until the day that God grabbed a hold of her heart.While assisting with an ultrasound lead abortion, Abby's eyes were opened to the horror of what was happening around her. Walking out of that clinic into the arms of the pro-life movement, Abby founded And Then There Were None. Today, this organization helps abortion workers leave the industry. By causing a shortage of workers, Abby hopes to shut down clinics. With the tag line, "no abortion clinic workers, no abortion clinics, no abortions", Abby and her Board have already assisted a staggering number of workers find new employment and healing.    

In late July, Abby shared a powerful memory of her time in the abortion industry in LifeNews.com. When a distraught patient was on the table, the doctor spoke to the girl, which Abby had never seen before. When she confessed that she felt what she was about to do was a sin, the doctor simply said "I will take your sin". But we know it doesn't work that way. 

Read Abby's thoughts regarding the sin of abortion. It isn't just the doctor and the patient, but also the Church for its silence and in-activism. What a beautiful call to action! 

http://www.lifenews.com/2011/07/26/abby-johnson-abortion-doc-told-patient-i-will-take-your-sin/

And please keep Abby and her organization in your prayers. This unique approach is changing the hearts and minds of many.

How much do you know about President Obama's Health Care package? Does it really include what some are calling a "Death Panel" designed to refuse medical care to those who need it most? Will this cost control work?

These are questions that Howard Dean (former Democratic Presidential Candidate) addressed on Monday. Dean authored an Op-Ed Article in the Wall Street Journal sharing his concerns regarding the law. 

As Obamacare launches, all citizens should ask the following questions: 

  • Who will serve on this committee? Currently the "Death Panel" or IPAB (Independent Panel Advisory Board) will be appointed by the President. In the words of Representative Paul Ryan, the members are "15 unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats in charge of Medicare...”
  • How will it affect the lives of our elderly? Dean claims, “By setting doctor reimbursement rates for Medicare and determining which procedures and drugs will be covered and at what price, the IPAB will be able to stop certain treatments its members do not favor by simply setting rates to levels where no doctor or hospital will perform them."

BUT WHAT CAN YOU DO? 

  1. Become informed. Spend 2 minutes reviewing Dean's article! It will provide the information you need.
  2. Pray. "pray continually," 1 Thessalonians 5:17
  3. Vote. "Rescue those being lead away to death; hold back those staggering towards slaughter. If you say, "We knew nothing about this," does not HE who weighs the heart perceive it? Proverbs 24:!1-12a
  4. Support programs that value the end of life. Do you know about LIFTLIFT is a ministry of compassionate care to people with chronic or terminal illnesses. It includes their loved ones, who are facing extraordinary pressures that can be physically, emotionally, and spiritually draining. 


We worship a God who values all life. Let us committee, together, to follow his lead.

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